Hearthstone expansion adds new depth and intricacy

Hearthstone, a massively multiplayer online card game, was released in March 2014. Playable on Windows, Mac, iPad, and Windows touch devices, the game enjoys a large playerbase, hitting more than 20 million registered users in September. Since the game’s release, Blizzard is releasing a 120 card expansion, Goblins vs. Gnomes, on December 8, 2014, which will completely change the game.

This past summer, Blizzard released the Curse of Naxxramas adventure. Though this was only 30 cards, the metagame shifted drastically. Keep in mind this was only a set of 30 cards, whereas GvG will be 120. Hearthstone will be a completely different game after December 8.

For the actual set, a few new mechanics have been introduced, as well as more type-specific cards. Ogres are stereotypically dumb creatures that won’t always hit the desired target. They have a 50 percent chance of missing the target you assigned, but can consequently hit through taunts or stealth. It’s all ogre now. The introduction of a new card-type, the mech, allows for different, powerful synergies when used together. Even standalone, a few mechs have respectable stats for their costs. Additionally, spare parts, a mechanic that goes hand in hand with mech, are one mana spells that are produced from certain GvG cards that can slightly modify the minions on the field.

Murlocs will be receiving a helping hand from Shaman, through two potentially powerful class specfic cards. Rogue may see the inclusion of pirates with a class specific pirate card and two more neutral cards.

Our favorite part of this new set are the potential wombo combos that can be unleashed. Each of the ridiculous combos can use up to 10 mana and at least five or six cards to one turn knockout the opponent. They are flashy and highly unlikely, but make the set that much more exciting. On a more somber note, though certain classes received great legendaries, a few classes weren’t given the same love (mage, paladin, and rogue, we’re sorry).

We both agreed that the new set will move the meta towards a more midrange orientated playstyle. With the release of mech, synergies will require more time and mana to play out. Additionally, early removal cards and GvG taunt cards will cause this move towards the midgame but not so much into the late game. As a result, aggressive and late game decks will be viable but not so frequently used as midrange. But we also don’t think that the meta will even settle for two to three months.

Hearthstone is huge. At more than twenty million users, the game has been a massive success in the short time it has been out. With the upcoming expansion, a booming E-sports scene, and a massive Twitch following that is usually in the top five most viewed games, Hearthstone is shaping up to be a fantastic free to play game for a long time to come.